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Florida Supreme Court Mulls Over Medical Marijuana Case

Marijuana plant.
Next Green Wave
The Florida Supreme Court will decide whether all medical marijuana treatment centers must have vertical integration.

The Florida Supreme Court is reviewing whether a law passed in 2017 conflicts with a constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana. The 2017 law requires medical marijuana treatment centers to have a vertical integration system—meaning the same company would grow, process, transport, and dispense the drug.

Opponents argue the 2017 law doesn't align with the constitutional amendment. Opponents say the amendment allowed companies to obtain separate licenses for growing, processing, or selling. Katherine Giddings represented the company Florigrown during oral arguments for the case.

"Your honors this court has unanimously and repeatedly said that the legislature can't come in and change the plain language of the constitution. What the legislature is asking you to do is to allow it to change the words here," Giddings says.

The case arose after the state denied a distribution license to Florigrown since it did not have a vertically integrated system for growing and processing.

Joe Jacquot represented the Florida Department of Health during oral arguments for the case. He says the law does not violate the amendment since the amendment does not specify what kind of model must be used.

"The amendment does not dictate any type of market model certainly doesn't dictate a horizontal model," Jacquot says.

Other supporters of the 2017 change point out that the legislature is responsible for creating rules to implement constitutional changes, which is what lawmakers did in 2017.